In the collection of my historical society (Bendigo Historical Society Inc., Australia) we have found a single sheet with a four-verse poem which is an obvious parody of Kipling's 'The Absent-Minded Beggar'. To date I have tried unsuccessfully to find either international academic or museum sources that may be conversant with this poem so I am hopeful that through this forum we might clarify a few issues relating to this document. We believe that one of the 100 volunteers from this city probably brought it back here after being in South Africa.
The poem is an unusual one from a construction sense in a couple of ways. It is written totally in 'mock-German' English and it is written in a manner that shifts seamlessly between 'us' talking about 'them' and 'them' talking about 'us'. In view of the language used, it needs to be 'translated' and we have been able to make this 'translation' with the exception of a few words for which there is no obviously relevant English meaning e.g. he tears dowels ...").
It is also unusual for us as non-experts in the Anglo-Boer War who rely in publish biographical dictionaries (but perhaps understandable in the context of propaganda?) that there are portrayals that do not appear to be based on fact e.g. our interpretation from the first verse that Paul (Kruger) of being a barman.
Central to the poem is the story of how some fifty kids ("British") take down a flag from a flagpole - one that had been put up by "Paul". The kid that "tore down" the flag is found and subjected to treatment which has to be described as bizarre ( the 'Limburger cheese' episode after which there is reference to "celebrate his funeral").
Towards identification of this poem by readers of the forum we attach the first verse and to illustrate the treatment of the boy is the description contained within the third verse. As an aid to a more rapid understanding of the poem/parody, I have attached a Word doc that is my 'translation' of the entire four verses from its ''mock-German' into a form that, in my opinion, gets the 'feeling' and the meaning of almost the entirety of the piece. Of course, this is a personal interpretation and some may disagree with the interpretations that I have made. I welcome input in that regard.
While we have some interest locally in who may have been the person who brought the poem here, our particular interest in bringing it to this forum is to seek information on the following:
1. Is this poem/parody known to others anywhere?
2. If it is a known piece, is there any history known regarding either an author or, perhaps, a title?
3. Most interestingly to us, is the flag-removal 'incident' and its possible aftermath that is the focus of the poem (the implied death/murder of one boy - maybe more - a recounting of something that actually happed . And where? Or might it be pure propaganda?
We look forward to replies to this posting as we consider this document to be an unusual one to find its way into our local Australian collection and wonder as to its rarity .
I have just added another attachment to the original posting and this gives my 'translation' of the entire poem from the 'mock-German' as well as I can do it. This might be a help in perhaps gaining an understanding of the whole poem .